Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
October 23, 2009

In an October 22 speech to some 700 members and guests of the International Propeller Club in Athens, Greece, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew J. Shapiro highlighted efforts by the United States and the international Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia to apply 21st century solutions to one of the world’s oldest criminal enterprises—piracy—which continues to endanger commercial shipping in the Horn of Africa region.

Speaking at a dinner hosted by the Port of Pireaus chapter of the International Propeller Club of the United States, an international maritime industry organization, to recognize Greek recipients of awards presented under the U.S. Coast Guard’s AMVER merchant vessel reporting program (, Assistant Secretary Shapiro noted recent accomplishments in combating piracy including the signing in September of the New York Declaration by the United States and other leading ship registry states. Signatories to this declaration commit to promulgating internationally recognized best management practices for protection of their vessels against piracy. Shapiro noted that "if all commercial fleets worldwide were to adopt the self-protection measures called for in the New York Declaration, we would be in a much better position to further reduce the success rate of pirate attacks."

Stating that "we need to develop strategies to discourage piracy as an enterprise," Assistant Secretary Shapiro noted that the United States was "already taking steps to work with other countries and institutions to identify and disrupt [the] illicit financial networks" that facilitate piracy. He also emphasized the importance of prosecuting suspected pirates and noted that the Contact Group had recently approved the creation of an international trust fund to help defray the expenses of pirate prosecutions. Shapiro emphasized that "it is important that commercial shipping companies whose ships and crews have been attacked by pirates support the prosecution of their attackers."

For the text of the speech and more information on the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, please visit the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs' Counter-Piracy web page at

PRN: 2009/1056